We hear the term “awareness” used a lot in business, especially when speaking about brands, but what does that look like? When Boston College baseball player Pete Frates was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig ’s disease at age 29, his parents Nancy and John Frates came up with a novel approach for raising awareness about the condition. They call it the Ice Bucket Challenge, and thanks to social media it has turned into a months-long charity campaign, seeing many high-profile celebrities participating, and raising around $15,000 toward ALS research since the Spring.
Ice Ice, Baby
The Ice Bucket Challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, and then nominating others to do the same. Those who refuse the challenge are asked to make a donation to their ALS charity of choice. The Frates’ original video went viral, and has amassed a huge following, with new videos posted every day to their official Facebook page.
Matt Lauer and Martha Stewart have already been iced for ALS, and Boston Bruins stars Brad Marchand and Torey Krug recently got in on the action, dousing themselves and asking teammates to do the same. In Boston’s Copley Square last Thursday, Nancy and John Frates saw 200 people show up to participate in a public event, including athletes, politicians, and students. According to ALS Association National President Barbara Newhouse, donations to the national office have increased tenfold compared to the same time last year thanks to increased awareness.
The Big Chill
We’re so used to seeing social media missteps in our morning headlines it’s easy to forget how powerful a tool it is when used correctly. In the workplace, the principle of recognition through social media is the same: the theme or idea of the recognition program is quickly disseminated to a large workforce, encouraging others to follow suit, increasing awareness. More so than the ability to communicate with all employees from anywhere at any time, being able to engage a more remote and disparate workforce is a deal-breaker for engagement in the modern age. While many organizations are still grappling with how to strategically deploy social media in the workplace, the Frates are making it look easy.
[Donate to the ALS Association here.]